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8. Penalties

Statutory text:

Section 1
Any person intentionally or negligently failing to comply with an injunction or prohibition issued to him in pursuance of Chap. 7, Sections 7-9, may be fined or sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year. This shall not apply, however, if the said injunction or prohibition was issued under penalty of a fine.

Section 2
Fines may be imposed on persons intentionally or negligently

employing a minor in contravention of Chap. 5, Section 2, (1) or of Provisions issued pursuant to Chap. 5, Section 2 , subsections three or four, 
contravening Provisions issued pursuant to Chap. 4, Sections 1-8 or Chap. 5, Section 3 (2), Section 4 or 5, 
furnishing incorrect particulars in matters of importance when a supervisory authority has requested information, documents or samples or has requested investigations pursuant to Chap. 7, Section 3 or 4, 
removing a safety device or rendering such a device inoperative without valid cause. 
Liability shall not be imposed under this stipulation if a Provision concerning a sanction charge, as provided in Section 5, has been issued for the offence in question.

Section 3
Stipulations concerning liability for infringements of Chap. 7, Section 13, are contained in Chap. 20, Section 3, of the Penal Code.

Forfeiture

Section 4 
Any device or substance which has been used in connection with offences coming under this Chapter and in violation of a prohibition under Chap. 4, Section 4, or Chap. 7, Section 7, or the value of such a device or substance, shall be declared forfeit save where such forfeiture would be patently undue.

Sanction charge

Section 5 
The Government, or by authority of the Government, the Work Environment Authority may prescribe payment of a special charge for infringement of a Provision issued by authority in any respect as referred to in Chap. 4, Sections 1-3 or 8 (1). The charge shall be paid even if the infringement was not intentional or negligent.

A Provision of this kind shall indicate how the charge is computed for different kinds of infringement. The charge payable shall be directly ascertainable on the basis of calculation indicated. The charge shall be at least SEK 1,000 and at most SEK 100,000.

Section 6
The charge shall be imposed on the natural or juristic person who conducted the activity in which the infringement occurred.

The charge may be adjusted or waived if its imposition on the calculation basis indicated would be undue.

The charge accrues to the State.

Section 7
Questions concerning the imposition of charges are adjudicated by the county administrative court at the instance of the Work Environment Authority.

Leave to appeal is required for appeals to the administrative court of appeal.

Section 8
A charge may be imposed only if the person against whom the claim is directed has been apprised of the application within five years of the time when the infringement occurred.

A decision whereby a charge is imposed shall be sent immediately to the county administrative board. The charge shall be paid to the county administrative board within two months of the decision acquiring force of law. Information to this effect shall be included in the decision.

If the charge is not paid within the time indicated in subsection two, an arrears charge shall be levied as provided in the Delay Charges Act (1997:484). The unpaid charge and arrears charge shall be referred for debt recovery. Stipulations on debt recovery are contained in the Debt Recovery (State Claims etc.) Act (1993:891). In the event of debt recovery, enforcement may be resorted to under the Attachment Code.

Section 9
Questions concerning the imposition of charges may be adjudicated by the Work Environment Authority through a payment injunction.

A payment injunction implies that the person presumably guilty of an infringement is presented with the charge for approval immediately or within a certain length of time.

An injunction, once approved, is equated with a binding court judgement imposing a charge. Approval after the expiry of the period defined in the injunction is, however, null and void.

Section 10
A charge which has been imposed will lapse if unenforced within five years of the decision acquiring force of law.


Comments on Chapter 8:

Penalties and contingent fines
If an employer or some other party with a safety obligation fails to comply with an injunction or prohibition, this can lead to a penalty in the form of a fine or imprisonment (Section 1). A penalty can be imposed both if the crime was committed deliberately and if it was committed through negligence. A company, a public authority or any other juristic person, however, cannot be convicted in this way. Instead it is one or more representatives of the juristic person who are prosecuted and fined or sentenced to imprisonment.

If the Work Environment Authority has set a contingent fine, this can be imposed instead by a court. If so, it takes the place of a penalty, which will not come into question in this situation. Unlike a penalty, a contingent fine is normally imposed on the juristic person, e.g. a company, association or municipality. Often too it involves far larger sums of money than is normally the case with fines.

Compliance with a prohibition is also guaranteed by the right of a safety delegate to suspend work which is contrary to the prohibition (Chap. 6, Section 7, subsection three).

The Act defines direct penal sanctions for a number of cases (Chap. 8, Section 2). In cases of this kind, no injunction or prohibition by the Work Environment Authority is necessary in order for a penalty to be imposed. Thus the Work Environment Authority can issue Provisions with direct penal sanctions concerning, for example:

  • permission for the use of a facility, a work process or a working method, 
  • approval or some other certificate of a product’s compliance with current requirements, 
  • testing, control or inspection certificate in order for use of a technical device or dangerous substance to be permissible, 
  • special conditions for the use of technical devices or chemical products, 
  • prohibition of the use of work processes, working methods, technical devices or chemical products, 
    medical examinations of employees, 
  • labelling of technical devices or chemical products, 
  • notices and other particulars to be supplied to the supervisory authorities, 
  • registers and lists to be kept by employers and others with safety responsibilities, 
  • age limits and working hours rules for minors.  


It is also a punishable offence to

  • furnish untruthful particulars when the Work Environment Authority has requested information, documents or specimens, and to 
  • remove a safety device or render it inoperative without valid cause.

One precondition of penal liability in all these cases is that the offence must have been committed deliberately or negligently. The penalty is fines. There are also stipulations of the Penal Code which may come into play when an accident or a work-related disease has resulted from irregularities in the working environment. Abuses of this kind can therefore result in one or more representatives of the employer being convicted of work environment offences. Incidents can also lead to punishment if they were due to gross negligence.

Forfeiture
A machine or chemical product used contrary to a prohibition can be declared forfeit (Chap. 8, Section 4). This means that it can be taken away from the party who used it. Alternatively, the value of the machine or product can be declared forfeit. If so, the user has to pay this amount of money to the State.

Sanction charges
The Work Environment Authority is entitled to impose sanction charges instead of penalties. The idea is for charges of this kind to be made applicable in certain limited areas where they are judged suitable. It is then the task of the Authority, in a Provision, to give a careful indication of the area in which the charge is applicable. The size of the charge may not be made to depend on any assessment but shall be possible to compute according to the omission concerned. In the Provisions, therefore, the Authority shall also indicate exactly how the charge is to be computed. The charge is not to be imposed on any individual employee but will be incurred directly by the undertaking or its equivalent.

It is the county administrative court, at the instance of the Work Environment Authority, which decides whether a charge is to be imposed. The Authority, however, can issue the company or equivalent with charge injunctions. If an injunction of this kind is approved by an authorised signatory, it has the same validity as a court judgement, in which case the matter need not be referred to the county administrative court.

It can in many cases be a complicated undertaking for the Authority to establish appropriate criteria for computing the charge. It is therefore to be expected that some time will elapse before the Authority has been able to issue any considerable number of Provisions on sanction charges. Only one such Provision has been issued so far, viz concerning carelessness to have pressure vessels and other pressure-retaining devices inspected. In fields where no Provisions on sanction charges have been issued, the penal stipulations remain in force.



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